Sunday, March 1, 2009

on passing by- again

A Happy New Year to you all, even if it does look as if it might not be the best of years. It has certainly started off badly with bad news following bad news. The sight of Beverly Flynn lecturing us on her entitlements was almost sickening. No stranger to controversy, and following in her fathers footsteps, she could see absolutely nothing wrong with accepting over forty thousand euro a year even though back in the Fianna Fail fold. In a rare, almost unprecedented, display of backbone Mr Cowen appears to have finally gotten through to Flynn that while she may have been technically and legally entitled to the tax free cash she was morally and ethically not entitled to it. It’s a real pity the same backbone could not be displayed more often.
I don’t know if anyone else noticed but it appears that the Governments promises to continue with infrastructural projects may turn out to be as aspirational as the previous election promises. After enduring years of hassle at the Mad Cow roundabout it finally looked as though you would be able to drive straight over the roundabout and then straight through Newlands Cross. Well sorry folks bit the Newland Cross bit is on the long finger for the foreseeable future. And I thought it was infrastructure.
The Government looks set to continue its plodding and stumbling as the Official Finances continue their downward spiral. We appear to have a troika at the helm of the good ship Ireland but I am afraid their seamanship skills leave a lot to be desired.
Captain Cowen, despite what many would regard as an overly long apprenticeship, has finally been given command of the L.E.Eire but has shown that he was not being very attentive in class. Despite all the years at Admiral Bertie’s side, years spent supposedly looking after the ships treasures, both his leadership and financial skills are now shown to be highly questionable.
As you all know a proportion of the crew is tasked with looking after the affairs of the rest of the crew. Over the last number of years this loyal and trustworthy band has come in for some special consideration. Unlike the rest of the crew they have been given wage increases beyond the ships means, and this and previous Captains have long told them that old age should carry no financial worries for them, as the ships coffers would not only finance their retirement but would also index link their payments for life.
Unfortunately the good ship has now spent some months in choppy seas, storms lashing its sides and denying it the trade it needs to keep it treasure chests full. To further compound the problems it looks as if the ship will now spend some long months in the doldrums, becalmed and windless, and apparently rudderless. Some members of the ordinary crew have suggested that one way to save the ships treasures, or at least slow down the their depletion, would be to get rid of some of the better off clique and to trim their remuneration a bit. This was suggested in the past, by the Administration Officer, Lieutenant McCreevy. He wanted to cut the crew by five thousand but Captain Cowen, before his promotion, had actually increased the upper echelon by nearly forty thousand. Perhaps this is why the Captain appears to think cutting back numbers is a bad idea. He has promised to look into it, but this is possibly in the hope that good winds and fair seas will return before he has to make a decision and thus save the special position of his favourites.
Some of the Captains decisions on promotions for the crew have also been a little bewildering. Midshipman Lenihan, from a position of almost no importance, has seen his star rise and now stands at the number three position on the Bridge. He has been put in charge of the ships treasure, despite having little if no experience of the position. While his Captain had spent the previous years looking after the goodies we must remember that because the coffers were filled to overflowing no one had really noticed all the jewels and baubles which had fallen through the cracks, or had questioned the profligacy with which he had extended his largesse to certain cohorts.
First Lieutenant Lenihan did however appear to see some of the storms on the horizon before his beloved Captain. One of his first decisions was to give the ship a good going over to see of he could cut down a bit on expenses and see if he could get the crew to contribute a bit more to the ships running costs.
Unfortunately he seems to have been unable to see the sea for the waves. His idea to cut back on some of the older crewmembers entitlements to articles from the medical chest was met with a certain degree of ferocity. The fact that he was somewhat taken aback by their reaction spoke volumes. Could they not see that it was for the ships good. How could the Captains favourites continue to enjoy their trappings if no one wanted to make sacrifices. The ungrateful wretches.
His decision to increase the ships taxes was likewise not the cleverest of ideas. Facing yet another backlash his solution was to spare the cabin boys from the increase. It was somehow disheartening to see such a senior officer order the ship into such a set of u-turns . We will watch his progress with interest but somehow I cant really see the lieutenant ever getting his backside into the bed in the captains cabin.
Second in command, Executive Officer Coughlan, has also been an unlikely candidate for promotion to this level. The fact that her attributes in vulgar below decks language mirror those of her Captain may have influenced his decision.
Her gut instinct when questions or events overtake her seems to be the same as her Captain’s. Bluster for a bit to take the pressure off and them promise the ships company that she will look into the problem and get back to them. She also seems very good at promising task forces and reports, even though previous reports litter the bridge and the captains cabin.
So what of the future of this once proud vessel?. Some time served sailors, spending their time ashore because they were not lucky enough to sail this time, have suggested that it might be time for the Captain and some of his crew to walk the plank. I am not really sure if this is a good or a bad idea. Yes, it might be time for a new Captain but I cannot see anyone in the junior ranks, or on the shore, who would be able to do a whole lot better. On the other hand can we continue to allow L.E.Eire to be sailed so badly?

All for now. Mike Edmonds.
Scoil Mhuire news:
Athbhliain faoi mhaise รณ Scoil Mhuire. Last term was a busy one with many exciting projects. Book Week was the first week of December when pupils completed a corridor gallery of artwork depicting their favourite characters and stories from books. The Parents Association held a successful Book Night from which the school library stocks were increased. The library now boasts 12,566 books so it's no wonder it's everyone's favourite room! The highlight of the week was the the storytelling sessions with well-known storyteller Niall de Burca who enthralled pupils and staff alike with his amusing, lively presentations.
85 pupils from senior classes participated in the school musical "Joseph" which played to packed houses each night. Along with leading roles onstage the pupils were responsible themselves for art and design, stage management, lighting, programmes and posters. Lead roles of Joseph and the narrator were played by Joshua Burke-Hayes and Heather Sammon and parents Tracey O'Connor, Carol Burke-Hayes and Geraldine Lawler provided the wonderful costumes. Colm Lambe generously donated half of all his proceeds from the sale of the concert DVDs to the profits which will now be used to purchase an additional interactive whiteboard and laptop for a senior class.
The annual pupil talent show, organised this year by the pupil committee Tom Murphy, Ryan Wilson-Black, Amy Kelly, Niall O'Neill and Harry Murphy, along with parents donations raised €723 which was given to the two local groups raising funds for Niall Mellon project and the N.C.B.I. Scoil Mhuire would like to acknowledge receipt of a generous donation from Ragusa stud at Christmas. This donation is used annually to fund educational events for pupils. 2nd to 6th classes participated in the annual inter-schools carol service in Ballymore Church organised annually with great success by Gemma Hanlon and the school choir sang also in the Ballymore Parish carol service.
2009 got off to a busy start with the emphasis on environmental and health issues. The green school committee faces its examination on 12th January to see if we are to merit a second school green flag. Teacher Siobhan Barry and the committee have worked tirelessly on the theme of "energy" and we have our fingers crossed for them! 1st, 2nd and 3rd classes will have the opportunity to participate in a dance workshop, facilitated by Kildare Arts Council on January 15th in the school hall. A nutritionist has been engaged to work with all classes on Friday 16th January to launch our school's healthy eating policy and on 21st January the teachers will partake in a workshop facilitated free by the H.S.E., "Active for Life", which aims to upskill teachers and help them run enjoyable aerobic activity classes in the hall for pupils. Pupils from 5th and 6th are preparing for the annual schools credit union quiz in Naas.
On a more sombre note, we were saddened to hear of the death of our nearest neighbour, Agnes Curry, in December. We used to enjoy seeing Agnes off at the school gate on her annual trip to Lourdes where she regularly prayed at the grotto for children who are ill. She will be fondly remembered in our assembly prayers.

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